Miss Lisa.

Ruby, our new rabbit, has her first official nickname. Spriggy had approximately a thousand, ranging from Fart in a Hot Skillet to his Indian name, Joe Walks Along. So we like to call our animals by handles other than their given names. But even I was impressed when Alan threw this one out: Miss Lisa Bunnay.

It’s an inside joke going back to the late ’80s, when a bunch of us made a video for a friend’s upcoming wedding. (We edited it using two VCRs, which tells you something.) It was set 20 years in the future, when we had all moved on to other things and the wedding couple had spiraled into rural poverty. (One of my favorite clips is one character’s description of coming upon their house, with all the barefoot kids running around the yard yelling, “Stranger comin’!”) Anyway, I believe my fate was to work as a writer for the “Miss Lisa Bonet Show,” which tells you something. It’s hard to overstate what a cultural Bigfoot Bill Cosby was in the ’80s. I found an old open for “The Cosby Show” on YouTube or Hulu or something, and called Kate over to watch; I’ve long contended that Raven Symone is actually 42 years old, and wanted her to see for herself.

It turns out I was wrong, but seeing anew the overwhelming smugness and self-satisfaction of the whole presentation blew my hair back. The mugging! The preening! You get the idea these people are still ordering coffee, then striking a pose for the roar from the laugh track. We the viewers were just as complicit; we had made a black family sitcom into a juggernaut, and yes, the words “post-racial America” were heard then, too. Phylicia Rashad’s husband proposed to her on national television, and she accepted likewise. She even changed her name for him, which is a form of hubris in and of itself. (It turns out she was right about that one, though — unless I missed something, they’re still married.) Dr. Alvin Poussaint was a paid consultant to every episode, which was like printing “now with oat bran” on a box of donuts. It was extra good-and-good-for-you.

Bill Cosby was in town yesterday, going door to door, pushing education to Detroit parents, who must send their children to some of the worst public schools in the country. Fortunately, we saved a little local color just for him:

The neighborhood celebrating his appearance got an extra dose of excitement when a man hit a tree driving what police say was a stolen van. Officer Leon Rahmaan, a police spokesman, says the man was speeding through the neighborhood about 5 p.m. when he spotted police accompanying Cosby.

Rahmaan says the man made a quick turn, lost control of the van and hit the tree less than two blocks from where Cosby was speaking with residents about keeping their kids in Detroit Public Schools. The man ran from the smashed-up van but was arrested after a brief foot chase.

I loves you, Detroit.

As a parent, I will pause and gives Cosby props for “Little Bill.” It was everything “The Cosby Show” wasn’t — simple, endearing, quiet. Kate loved it when she was little, and I loved watching it with her.

Miss Lisa Bunnay’s next nickname will probably be some version of Greased Lightning. I have never seen an animal so unwilling to follow orders when it’s time to return to the cage.

A little beautiful-day bloggage? Sure:

When life imitates “The Wire.” I usually link to the Metro Times version of Detroitblog’s biweekly dispatches, but one of the additional photos on his blog made me think of “The Wire,” so here you are. It’s about a family of squatters in the most squat-friendly city in North America.

I don’t think I’ll renew Vanity Fair this year. They’re starting to embarrass themselves.

Today’s flash-in-the-pan website (HT: Hank): Keggers of Yore. I think I’m in some of these pictures.

Work. Exercise. The last days of summer. I’m away to do it all.

Posted at 10:59 am in Detroit life, Popculch |

44 responses to “Miss Lisa.”

  1. Sue said on September 2, 2009 at 11:14 am

    I though Phylicia’s marriage ended badly – abandonment charges or something. At any rate, I remember something beyond the ordinary about the divorce.
    And all the talk about weird death practices yesterday? I think every library in Wisconsin has a copy of a book called Wisconsin Death Trip, which was actually made into a movie.

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  2. Joe Kobiela said on September 2, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Here’s a good one.
    Local morning news anchor Mary Collins was pulled over in Fort Wayne for weaving in traffic at 9:30am blew a 0.14 but claimed she had nothing to drink, but had been fasting and had ate some skittles and had a piece of Rum Cake. I would like that rum cake recipe please.
    Pilot Joe

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  3. Connie said on September 2, 2009 at 11:51 am

    We also have had varied names for our pets. Currently Miss Molly the miniature schnauzer is known as Molly Dumbheadski.

    I first read that as Lily Bunny. My kid’s first video was Richard Scarry’s Best Counting Video Ever. She knew if she popped it into the VCR it would start playing by itself, and she played it over and over and over. One day she started the video and my husband stood up, said “I can’t listen to that bitch Lily Bunny one more time” and left the room.

    Indiana Library Federation Conference will be in Fort Wayne next month if any of you FWer’s are interested. Shall I pay $15 for the wine and cheese party at the new downtown library on Sunday evening?

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  4. Dorothy said on September 2, 2009 at 11:59 am

    I recognized the Lisa Bunnay reference immediately! When we lived in Cincinnati, we lived on Huckleberry Lane. Most of the streets in that subdivision had “berry” attached to them. When our son drove through it for the first time, he called Holly Berry Court the “Halle Berry” street. We used to have a cocker named Peanut, but one of her many nicknames was Mrs. Wiggle Bum due to her cropped tail moving constantly when she was happy, happy, happy. Which was all the damned time. Doesn’t everyone have a whole list of “other names” for their pets and human family members?

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  5. Christy S. said on September 2, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks for the laugh, Joe. Skittles! Doesn’t that prove she was indeed drunk? But hey, you gotta admit that was a pretty crafty explanation for an anchor who was (assumedly) without the usual producer in her ear.

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  6. brian stouder said on September 2, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Indi­ana Library Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence will be in Fort Wayne next month

    Can a member of the general public buy a ‘visitor’ badge and attend? What subjects will the conference address?

    Did I mention that Chloe (our 5 year old) signed up for her first library card at the main branch last night? Signed her own name on the form and everything! (we joked that that signature will haunt her when she runs for office, someday)

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  7. Connie said on September 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Here’s a link to all the conference info. http://www.ilfonline.org/Upcoming_Conferences/2009_ILF_Annual_Conference.htm

    Subjects are all over the board, management, technology, authors and programs. At the state conference authors tend to be kids authors or local authors.

    If you are truly interested you can register at the Friends/students/retiree rate of $45 a day, you don’t have to prove you fit in one of those categories. Or you could just meet me downtown for lunch on Monday.

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  8. LA Mary said on September 2, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Amelia the cat is Mealy Worm, Max the boxer/dane mix is Maxine, Smokey is the Family Smokester, Poppy is Pop Tart or Pop Star. Anna and Albert, both cats, haven’t inspired nicknames yet. I used to have a male Siamese named Bhumibol Aduljadej, named after the King of Thailand. He was more commonly known as The Fart.

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  9. Jenflex said on September 2, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Sage the Bichon is Nurse McFurry and Nanny McFuff for her habit of cuddling up to anyone who’s under the weather. I have a darling photo of her on the back of our couch, kissing on my daughter as a sleeping newborn on her sleeping daddy’s chest.

    Daughter nicknamed our deceased collie “Maxie Moo Moo” or just Moo Moo. Not sure where that came from. The Bichon is the one always eating grass.

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  10. paddyo' said on September 2, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Well hell, if you’re gonna do wabbit puns, how ’bout Jon Bunnay Rabbit?
    Although, I’m guessing there may already have been a few pet bunny rabbits in Boulder with that name by now …

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  11. Jenflex said on September 2, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I feel a “Jon and Kate Plus Eight” parody coming on…but wait! Isn’t Lisa Bunn-nay spayed?

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  12. Sue said on September 2, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    One of our cats is nicknamed “Evil One”. He is the sweetest, cutest boy, but that whole slice-n-dice thing that pops up every once in awhile is very hard on your hands (and sometimes on your feet if you just happen to be walking past).

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  13. Jenine said on September 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    LA Mary: I love the Thai king’s name for your late Siamese cat. But I wouldn’t discuss it when actually in Thailand. Here’s a story about a criminal case of insulting the royal family, something they prosecute there.

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  14. Dorothy said on September 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Mike nicknamed our newest dog “the Coroner” due to his anxiousness to bring home dead animals he finds during their morning walks. Road kill bunny legs and ears have been picked up, as have opossum parts and ground hog pieces. Mike says “they aren’t officially dead until the Coroner declares them so!”

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  15. moe99 said on September 2, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    My cat veterinarian told me that cats have one of the active ingredients in LSD swirling through their brains, and sometimes the cat just gets a bigger hit. Makes sense to me.

    Scooter, the wiener dog, is Meat Loaf sometimes, Scootie others.

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  16. coozledad said on September 2, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I had to go and read some of that South Carolina Dept. of Education pornography, just to see how someone with the imagination of a state level administrator goes about trying to coerce something from erectile tissue. The story I read sounded a little improbable to me, as the people who were having sex were delivering a running commentary on the action without laughing. The dialog goes something like this:
    “You love it when I…..,don’t you?”
    “Yes, it makes my…and I just can’t stop…until It’s so raw I need some Unguentine”
    I added the Unguentine part, but only because I think it would have lifted the piece from its hapless expository rut. I found I enjoyed the dialog more if I imagined it being spoken by people with the early models of voice simulators.

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  17. adrianne said on September 2, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Nance, I still have a video of our wedding tape, with hilarious appearances from our old pals in Fort Wayne. I’ll treasure it always!

    A friend of mine in Syracuse is dog-sitting for her father-in-law’s beagle named Lucy. But she is now being called Lucifer for her devilish ways.

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  18. deb said on September 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    well, this is odd. i clicked through to the vanity fair link, which contained another link labeled “Johnston’s johnson,” which was also labeled SFW. however, when i clicked on it — oh, of course i did; how could i pass that up? — the link turned out to have nothing to do with anybody’s johnson. it was, instead, a clip promoting a piece about the north korean missile threat — and opened with some incredibly phallic images of a missile being launched.

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  19. ROgirl said on September 2, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    My kitty is Monkey Butt or Shtinker-poo.

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  20. alex said on September 2, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    My dog has two names: Foofy Dog (because she’s such a frivolous animal) and Poopy Dog (because her turds are as big as beer cans and in her old age she’s losing bowel continence).

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  21. Dorothy said on September 2, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Way to go, Chloe! Brian I still remember the day I signed up for my first library card. It was around 46 years ago. My sister who is 10 years older than me took me to the library. If I close my eyes, I can still smell that place – it was magic and smelled so amazingly wonderful.

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  22. Peter said on September 2, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Our dog’s formal name is Copper but will also come to Lard Ass and Sir Poops A Lot.

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  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 2, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Deb, you’ve gotten/given a whole new meaning to rickrolling.

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  24. Rana said on September 2, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    The cat’s full name is Little Wee Beastie Wee (don’t ask – even I don’t fully understand my brain sometimes) or Bea for short. She also gets called “Small,” “Little Wee,” “Little Whiny Bea,” “Ickle Bea,” “Widdle Feets” and other such ridiculous riffs.

    I figure if we get a second cat it will have to have a name with an U or an O sound dominant, because I’m half-convinced that Bea thinks her name is actually just a long E sound.

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  25. Rana said on September 2, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Brian – congrats to Chloe! And I have to laugh about the signature thing – when I look at the signature on my Social Security card (which I got back in high school) I wince. It looks nothing like my signature now. (Which makes me wonder about the validity of using signatures for identification purposes, but oh, well.)

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  26. paddyo' said on September 2, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    My first childhood pet, a longhaired cat, was named Lucifer by my parents.
    Then one day Lucifer crawled into the very back bottom corner of the linen closet and had several kittens.
    Presto! Cat renamed Lucy.

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  27. Colleen said on September 2, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Millie the cat is Millie Louise, Mildew and Milton Bradley a World of Fun. Also Mildred Fierce.

    Claude is CR Bumbershoot, Claudzilla, and Eddie Puss. (he loves me. A lot.)

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  28. joodyb said on September 2, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    last night in the daily christening ritual, Jax and Kenny were renamed Crestor and Plavix. we watch a lot of tv.

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  29. mark said on September 2, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    My Welsh Corgi, Sparky, also answers to “Bud,” “Buddy” or “OOPs! What did I just drop on the floor!” I was fighting the little guy for a handful of raw green beans last evening.

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  30. LA mary said on September 2, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    The female Siamese was named Sirikit, after the queen of Thailand, so I best stay out of dead pet name discussions when in Thailand. I omitted earlier that the great dane boxer mix is also known as The Blunt Instrument. He’s not the smartest dog I’ve owned, but a very effective deterrent, being he’s huge.

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  31. moe99 said on September 2, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    mark, your post made me laugh out loud! Have you watched The Dog Whisperer? I like it, but my sister the veterinarian, says that there are a number of vets who don’t subscribe to his practices. She thinks they’re ok and so do I.

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  32. basset said on September 2, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Our deceased basset Eudora was occasionally called Eudoriosos Puppus… which looks a lot worse on the screen than it sounded in person. (Long O’s, short A’s.) We lived in Mississippi when we got her (at the end of an epic, four-changes-and-a-stop with substantial drives on both ends Piedmont Airlines marathon), and I was amazed how many locals were genuinely insulted by the name. Eudora Welty herself, according to someone I met who claimed to know her, probably would have thought it was funny… but Mississippians are touchy that way. and a bunch of other ways.

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  33. joodyb said on September 2, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    LAMary, one of Ken’s other monikers is the Hammerhead. same deal.

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  34. Joe Kobiela said on September 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    My Golden Retriever “Baxter” is some times called ‘Nutsack”
    Pilot Joe

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  35. brian stouder said on September 2, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Sub­jects are all over the board, man­age­ment, tech­nol­ogy, authors and pro­grams. At the state con­fer­ence authors tend to be kids authors or local authors.

    Boy Connie – you weren’t kiddin’ about the thing being ‘all over the board’! A few of the things certainly look interesting, but much of it would be lost upon me. Still – if a lunch plan can be made, then I think we should do it!

    There’s a very nice place called Don Chava’s just north of downtown, on Wells street, if you like southwestern/Mexican…and of course all the usual fastfood choices.

    If we can dragoon Alex into coming to lunch, he may know of better choices downtown. (for example, I’ve never set foot in Henry’s, over by the newspaper, nor [and I hesitate to admit this] even Cindy’s Diner. Truth be told, I’m largely ignorant of where’s the best place to eat, down there)

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  36. Dexter said on September 3, 2009 at 1:41 am

    All the kegger pics kind of run together and then come the nude shots and then…wow! This is a great photo…but I wonder what’s with the strap-on noses.
    It’s obviously the start of a keg-rolling contest, by the man holding the starter pistol…a great photo indeed.

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  37. crazycatlady said on September 3, 2009 at 1:53 am

    I did hear Cosby was going door-to-door to convince Detroiters to trust the DPS. I would take more than a celebrity to get me to put my kid in the DPS. With the track record the school board in Detroit has, I wouldn’t them run a lemonade stand let alone waste my child’s time in the system. Never. EVER.

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  38. Dexter said on September 3, 2009 at 2:05 am

    We got a terrier named Rusty in 1957. By 1962 , responding to my cousin’s fuss-making over him, going “ahhh-ah ahhhh” when she petted him, the dog was called “Wah”. By the late 1960s there was an IHL hockey player name Moe Benoit.
    I morphed “Wah” into “Ben-Wah” for Benoit, and then, naturally, the dog’s name itself morphed into just “Ben”. And he was Ben until he died in October, 1971, age 14 and one half.
    More interesting were the nicknames the kids attained where I grew up. The obese kid was “Skinny” . We had Crow, Hawk, Fatboy, Squirrelly Evans (not his real last name at all) , Goon, Corkscrew Cock, two Punks, Big Cake (for a high paying construction job he had one summer) , Streak, Scabber, Kong, Cunt-Eye, Bobber, the obligatory “Chink”, Whipper (skinny like the whipper in MAD Magazine), Skunk, Antenna Ear, and of course, the kid known as “Fuck”. What a handle.
    When I was in US Army Basic Training at Fort Knox, there was a sort of war going on between the Kentucky men and the Indiana men. The Michigan trainees stayed out of it. One of the Kentucky draftees was named Fuchs. Now we all know Fuchs is a common name, pronounced FEW-ks. This soldier pronounced it “Fox”. Of course some dumb-ass ignorant Hoosier draftee trainee called him “Fucks”. Fuchs came after the offender and really laid into him with a punch to the guts that laid the Hoosier kid flat-out on the floor of the barracks writhing in pain. Fuchs was mouthy-loud all the time and when his turn came to fight in the Friday night boxing matches we had after hours I was hoping his Hoosier opponent would knock him out, but Fuchs beat the Indiana lad down quickly. Victory, Commonwealth of Kentucky.

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  39. Deborah said on September 3, 2009 at 4:54 am

    Our cat Gudrun (goo-dy-two-shoes) and her sister Ursula (Ursie Dursie) are named after the Brangwen sisters in the book “Women in Love” by DH Lawrence. Gudrun is beautiful but dumb as a rock while Ursula, the runt of the litter, has a ridiculous looking face but is smart as a tack. Both are very clingy to each other and to me. They are Bombay’s, they look like miniature black panthers. It’s 3:53 a.m., can’t sleep as usual.

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  40. alex said on September 3, 2009 at 7:45 am


    Lotsa good choices downtown, actually. Henry’s being one, although unsure if it does lunch. The dock at Hall’s is open for lunch, I hear, and you can watch yellow/red/blue oil slicks burbling up from a hole in the riverbed (where they just completed that year-long soil remediation project). Service and food are so-so, however. Not sure if Club Soda does lunch, but they’re the bomb. Also, someone took over Park Place and changed the menu from overpriced, mediocre fare to a pan-Asian menu, but I haven’t had a chance to try it out. The Dash Inn does an adequate job of pub food and attracts a good lunch crowd.

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  41. brian stouder said on September 3, 2009 at 7:59 am

    What is that place that (seemingly) just popped up over on Berry(?) – that has neon signs offering pizza and ice cream? Looks good

    I forgot about Club Soda; we’ve eaten there a few times, and love the place. Seems like there are several interesting looking places on the landing, that I know nothing about

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  42. alex said on September 3, 2009 at 9:49 am

    The pizza place in the Poagston Arms? (Forget what that apartment building is called now. Notice how every time there’s a shooting or some other scandal at an apartment complex they change the name to something new and benign like Breezy Meadows or some such?)

    I know the guy who manages that pizza place but haven’t tried it out yet. He’s also a former Chicagoan who came back to his hometown.

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  43. Dorothy said on September 3, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Dexter – not sure if you’ll see this since it’s yesterday’s post/comment board. But my older brothers had a friend they nicknamed Five After Six because of the way his head was always leaning.

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  44. brian stouder said on September 3, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Y’know, Dorothy, in this age of digital clocks on cell-phones and walls, that nickname will make young folks say “I don’t get it”

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